Wednesday, February 2, 2011

My People, Or, The Company We Keep

Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, "What you are comes to you."

I was thinking of this as I was looking at the latest gossip headlines about Sandra Bullock in the checkout aisle at the Stop N Shop today. 

Like everyone else, I succumb to the lure of celebrity gossip culture and feel quite certain that Sandy is better off without that tattooed bastard who took up with some skanky piece of scooter-trash while Sandra was accepting her Academy Award and happily filling out paperwork to adopt a sweet little baby.

I mean, really.  Talk about a dumbass.  (Him, I mean, not her.)

In a sense, I think people assume that we always regret the loss of anyone we once cared about, no matter how repulsive or unethical or annoying (or whatever) they may have ultimately turned out to be. 

I think that this is always our initial reaction, but it's a reaction that is ultimately quite fleeting, if we let it go.

Life isn't just about the plot, it's about the characters.  You can't predict what will happen or how, and sometimes, all you can do is make the best of the situation that's in front of you.  Some days you do, some days you don't.

But you can always choose the characters in your life-story. 

One day, after getting an eyeful on Facebook, I called my best friend up, described what I had witnessed, and breathlessly concluded, "I just can't kid myself anymore.  These aren't my people.  I have people.  I don't need these people."

It may seem like it's not all that important who hangs around in our lives, but it is. 

Extremely. 

On the drive home from the supermarket, as I contemplated Sandra Bullock's future, I heard the wisdom of Lee Ann Womack twang in my ear: "Don't let some hell-bent heart leave you bitter."

There are a lot of hell-bent hearts out there.  If you keep them around and what you are comes to you, then  they'll think you're their people. 

And the next thing you know, you are.

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Ralph Waldo Emerson once wrote, "Life is short, but there is always time for courtesy."